It's becoming commonplace to listen to the news and hear that someone's life was cut short, snubbed out for less than a couple hundred bucks. Another senseless and devastating crime was committed, this time over tennis shoes. A High School freshman is said to have been murdered because of his large shoe collection. The victim and his sixth period classmates were reportedly thrilled when the final exam ended Wednesday morning. It was officially time for the holiday break.
Abiodun Anifowoshe, 15, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he saw a close friend, Paul Sampleton, after the final bell rang. “He was smiling, listening to music,” Abiodun said. “He got on his bus, I got on mine. We were all happy.” Soon after Paul's life ended. Within three hours, Paul would be found dead, the victim of a homicide that Gwinnett County believe started as a robbery at the teen’s home. The teen’s father found the teen shot inside the home.
Police quickly ruled out suicide or an accidental shooting, calling Paul’s death a homicide.
On what should have been a carefree afternoon, the teen’s friends and classmates were shocked to learn of the death of the outgoing, smiling teen who moved to the area before the start of the school year.
Paul played on the freshman football team and played baseball, according to his friends. But he had one hobby that made him stand out from others.
“He did love his shoes,” Abiodun said. “The new Jordans and Nikes that came out, Paul was always the first to get them.”
Manny said his friend had at least 20 pairs of high-end, high-priced basketball shoes. Paul not only wore them, but sometimes traded them or sold them, his friends said. Classmates speculated that Paul’s love of shoes could have led to his death, but investigators declined to release further details about a motive or any suspects.
Parents, we are responsible for teaching our children that they must value LIFE above all things. They must be taught that material things are just that, perishables that come and go. Make sure you're not placing too much value on name brand shoes and clothes, but instead grooming your child to possess characteristics that make them and you proud. Our children take a lot of their cues from our actions and behaviors, so be careful to set a wise example.
Words by Sid Powell
Sid Powell is the NAACP-nominated screenplay writer of 'Somebody's Child', a mother of two, and the owner of SIDPo Productions. Read more about how SIDPo Productions is 'Changing Everything' at www.sidpoproductions.com.